Case Study - Bryan Aldridge

TSi Technology Impresses Grazing Company Manager

Te Awamutu-based grazing company Grazcare is certain that EID technology is the way of the future. The TSi's advanced software was a key element in why they chose it to manage their weighing and EID. Operations Manager Bryan Aldridge says the TSi's accuracy means they can also weigh more animals in less time and the animals get less stressed by the process.


Bryan Aldridge: The TSi’s outstanding software
was crucial to GrazCare's choice of weighing and EID system.

Te Awamutu-based grazing company GrazCare took a wait-and-see approach to electronic identification (EID) technology. A division of VetEnt, GrazCare currently monitors about 4000 dairy heifers, 4000 weaners and 300 carry-over cows throughout the Central Plateau, Waikato and King Country.

Operations manager Bryan Aldridge says the company carefully watched developments in the marketplace before investing in EID products.

"We are fairly conservative and we wanted to see that all the gremlins were ironed out before we got into anything.”

But now the company is certain that EID technology is the way of the future. In winter 2010, GrazCare purchased its first TSi unit in preparation for the new season’s batch of weaner heifers – all of which will be EID tagged.

Product reputation and quality

Bryan says the company looked at a couple of different EID weighing and recording systems before opting for the TSi. The Gallagher name was a big selling point.

"Gallagher was right on our doorstep and we always hear good things about their products and their backup service." But the TSi’s outstanding software was crucial to the decision. "The software in the TSi was just so much more advanced than anything else we looked at. It’s a quantum leap in technology."

 

Instant accuracy - and savings in time and labour

Bryan says the TSi has made heifer weighing much simpler and more accurate. The weight of each animal appears the moment it crosses the scales.

This information, along with other recorded data (such as the heifer’s previous weight and animal health history), means rapid decisions can be made on the spot.

"All the information is there for you straight away and that means we can decide there and then if we need to change an animal’s feed management regime or treat it for an animal health issue."

"We don’t have to drive all the way back to the office, plug the tag number into the database and then return later - by which time the heifer in question is probably all the way down the back of the farm!"

Bryan Aldridge quote: TSi software is more advanced than anything else we looked at. It's a quantum leap.

GrazCare graziers are paid on a heifer weight-gain basis and they like the new technology because they can get instant and precise feedback on how the heifers are doing.

Grazcare heifers are weighed every second month.

The job of weighing stock is a task that previously required two staff members - one to run the heifers over the scales and the other to manually read conventional tags and record information.

But the TSi system means one person can perform both these tasks and with considerably more precision.

"Manually weighing and recording stock can be hard, especially when it’s raining. The person doing the recording is standing there with an umbrella in one hand and a clipboard in the other, trying to read tags that are quite often covered in mud."

"So you can get a lot of errors. But with the electronic tags and the TSi system, all the recording work is done for you and it’s all done accurately."

This is a big improvement on the old manual recording system.

Bryan estimates that one staff member can now weigh and record 120 heifers an hour with the TSi, compared with 100/hour under the previous two-person system.

Calmer stock

Just as importantly, Bryan says the recording and weighing process is now less stressful for the animals.

“Cattle only put on weight when they are eating, so the less time the heifers spend in the yards the better. This system enables us to get them straight back out onto grass as quickly as possible.”